Thursday, November 12, 2020

Etymology of the word "Cacao"

 Cacao is the term originally used to describe a tree which bears cacao fruit. Like all trees, this one has an original root system, from which stems grow outwards toward the sky. The branches of these stems are covered with leaves and flowers, as well as tiny little pods filled with seeds.

The tree is not a plant. It is an organism, like us. A living being with its own unique form of consciousness.

The cacao tree, like all trees, is the way it is because of its genes. It isn't a human being with an agenda for world domination; it just lives as best as it can according to the instructions in its genetic code.

The cacao tree is a beautiful thing. It has an amazing form and shape, truly one of the most magnificent forms in nature. And it's not just pretty to look at; it also produces fruit which tastes delicious...the perfect combination of nutrition, taste, and appearance.

So far, science has not discovered anything better.

But science will continue to search, and in the future may yet find a better fruit than cacao. That's OK too. Cacao is not perfect, but it's pretty close.

The word "cacao" is derived from the Olmec language of Mesoamerica. The Mayans and Aztecs adopted it at some point as they came to dominate Central America, but there are traces of a cacao-cult in pre-Olmec cultures such as that found at Izapa .

The Olmecs used cacao to worship their ancestors, and the source of their livelihood. "Cacao" derives from the Nahuatl word "cacahuatl", which means both "cocoa" and also a bitter liquid drink made from it.

The Mayans and Aztecs used it to pay their workers, with cocoa beans being the main currency until they were replaced by corn.

After the fall of the Aztecs, the Spanish brought cacao back to Europe. It became immensely popular there as a drink and later spread throughout Asia.

I found this etymology quite interesting, didn't you?

It is quite difficult to define exactly what the word cacao refers to. I'll start by stating that it seems that there are several distinct things which have been referred to as "cacao". These include a list of substances, objects or phenomena; and also the name for many types of tree, plants and seeds in general. It appears that while some species may be called "cacoa" after their scientific title (as in Theobroma Cacao), others have no such distinction.

In addition to this, I've found several different spellings of the word "cacao" in my research. These include: cacau, cahoa, caoua and cacao.

I would suggest that there are several distinct types of "cacao". The word itself was derived from the Taino language, and is thought to be a legacy of their culture.

In the Taino language, "cacao" (or cacau) means "food of the gods", and it refers to many types of seeds and foods alike. It is said that these were all highly prized by the natives who used them for sustenance.

The word "cacao" was borrowed into the Spanish language, where it has been used in a variety of ways, to refer to many types of trees. These include: Theobroma Cacao (which is known as Cocoa in English), Sterculia urens and Brosimum alicastrum.

Theobroma Cacao is a small tree, native to Central and South America. It was cultivated in the pre-Columbian era by the Olmecs, Mayans and Toltecs.

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